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Murray takes a tumble
Roger, Novak stay on course; Bouchard, Halep in semis

Roger Federer and Andy Murray in contrasting moods, after their respective matches, at Wimbledon, on Wednesday

London: The mayhem created by an Australian firecracker the previous evening was continued in brutal fashion by Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday as he annihilated defending Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.

With the dust still settling on 19-year-old Nick Kyrgios’s third-round demolition of world No.1 Rafael Nadal, Dimitrov caused the second seismic shock on Centre Court in the space of 24 hours by outclassing Murray 6-1, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2.

However, in a late match big-serving Milos Raonic powered past Kyrgios 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-4, 7-6(4) to end the teenager's Wimbledon adventure and book his first Grand Slam semi-final.

Roger Federer finally blotted his copybook on Wednesday, dropping a set for the first time at this year’s Wimbledon before reaching the semi-finals with a 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

It is the ninth Wimbledon semi-final for the 32-year-old seven-times champion, who has been in imperious form on grass this year, winning at Halle before steaming through five rounds at the All England Club.

Federer, playing his 16th tour match against his Davis Cup teammate Wawrinka, looked listless during the first set before getting into his stride to notch his 14th win over the Australian Open champion.

Another slight chink in Federer’s formidable armour showed itself as he served a nervy game to complete the victory. It took five match points for the 17-times Grand Slam champion to wrap up the contest, finishing with a big serve and a smash.

Murray’s shattering defeat means that two of the so-called Big Four in men’s tennis have departed in quick succession from the grasscourt Grand Slam, both walloped by members of a brash new generation of big hitters with no fear and scant regard for reputations.

It’s one thing surrendering your crown, but to suffer such a remorseless beating on your own turf in front of Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, was especially galling.

Top seed Novak Djokovic, the man Murray beat a year ago to end Britain’s 77-year wait for a men’s Wimbledon champion, nearly went the same way before restoring order by digging himself out of a hole to beat dangerous Croatian Marin Cilic 6-1, 3-6, 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-2 and set up a clash with Dimitrov.

With cracks beginning to show in the top echelons of the men’s game, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard and Romania’s Simona Halep heightened the sense of a changing of the guard in women’s tennis as both reached the semi-finals. Bouchard, 20, beat Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 while Romanian third seed Halep, 22, continued her fantastic year to overcome last year’s runner-up Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 6-0.

They will face-off on Thursday, when both will become the first women from their respective countries to play in a Wimbledon semi-final.

Of the last four standing in the women’s draw, only 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has tasted Grand Slam glory.

A growing sense of disbelief settled over Centre Court and outside on the sun-baked hill, where thousands had assembled to watch on the huge screen, as Murray’s imperious charge towards a second consecutive title came off the rails.

Murray had looked impeccable on his way to the quarter-finals, not dropping a set and wasting little energy, but 25 minutes after starting against 23-year-old Dimitrov he was already a set down and in deep trouble.

Such was the quality of the 11th seed’s tennis that Murray could have been excused for thinking it was Federer in his prime on the other side of the net.

While Dimitrov will contest his first Grand Slam semi-final, Bouchard will be appearing in her third this year, determined to go at least one better than she did at the Australian and French Opens.

Attacking relentlessly against one of the best defenders in the game, the new golden girl of tennis seized control from 3-3 in the first set and feasted on the Kerber serve, belting winners for fun in the sun.

“Yeah, I’m excited to be in the semis,” she told reporters. “But never satisfied. I definitely want to go a step further.”

Veteran Leander Paes advanced to the men’s doubles quarter-finals of Wimbledon Championships after the Indian ace and his Czech Republic partner Radek Stepanek pulled off a hard-fought win here on Wednesday.

The fifth seeded Indo-Czech duo prevailed over The Netherlands’ Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau of Romania 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 7-5 in a match that lasted a little less than three hours at court No. 3.

Partnering Cara Black, Paes had earlier lost his mixed doubles match to Eric Butorac and Timea Babos.

Earlier, Rohan Bopanna and Andrea Hlavackova saved all three break chances they faced against British team of Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae to progress to the pre-quarter finals of the mixed doubles event. They lost 4-6, 5-7.